Planning for Healthy Communities
“The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation and land-use decisions.”
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-
Built environments are “the human-created surroundings that provide the setting for human activities, ranging from large-scale civic districts, commercial and industrial buildings, to neighborhoods and individual homes” (Puget Sound Regional Council, Vision 2040).
Healthy community design can improve people’s health by:
- Increasing physical activity
- Increasing safety and reducing injury
- Increasing access to healthy food
- Improving land, air and water quality
- Strengthening the social fabric of a community and improving overall quality of life
- Providing fair access to livelihood, education, services and resources
Check out the following videos from the American Planning Association WA Chapter and Dean Howard Frumkin (DO, DEOHS) of the University of Washington regarding healthy community planning, and the importance of the built environment to public health.
- Planning for Healthy Communities
- UW|360: Healthy Neighborhoods
- Healthy Human Habits: Howard Frumkin at TEDxRainier
Why does place matter?
How do zip codes determine our health?
The Health Department Built Environment Program
The Department’s Built Environment Program is committed to promoting healthy human habitat and livable communities, by helping local jurisdictions to incorporate human health and healthy community considerations in planning documents, and sharing evidence-based health research and other information.
Mission: Partnering with policy makers, planners and community members to build sustainable and healthy communities.
The Health Department will ensure communities are healthy and sustainable by:
- Encouraging land-use and transportation planning decisions based on a balanced triple-bottom-line approach: people, prosperity and planet.
- Engaging affected communities to help influence the shaping of their communities.
- Addressing health disparities among diverse populations .
- Mitigating public health risks.
Built Environment Program Staff Amy Pow will reach out to planning staff of local jurisdictions to customize partnership approaches to comprehensive planning sensitive to the unique circumstances of each community. If you wish to find out more about how the Health Department can assist your jurisdiction in the comprehensive plan update visioning process or how to use the Healthy Community Planning Toolbox, contact Amy Pow, Principal Planner, at email@example.com or call (253) 798-6456.
Toolbox and Resources for Local Planners
To integrate health into local jurisdictions’ periodic Comprehensive Plan Updates, check out the Healthy Community Planning Toolbox.
Healthy Communities Award
This annual award program recognizes local jurisdictions who have made special efforts to influence the health of their communities. Healthy Communities Awardees will be honored at each year's Pierce County Regional Council General Assembly.
The 2016 Award will acknowledge jurisdictions putting into practice solid comprehensive plan policies to influence the social, economic and environmental root causes of health. The Healthy Communities Award Checklist shows the criteria for the 2016 Award Program.
Congratulations to recipients of the 2016 Healthy Communities Award:
Platinum Award: Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Fife, Gig Harbor, Puyallup, Ruston, Steilacoom, Sumner, and Tacoma.
Gold Award: Fircrest, Roy, and University Place.
- Presentation on Planning for Healthy Communities (Presented to Growth Management Coordinating Committee (GMCC) on September 27, 2012).
- Presentation on the Proposed Healthy Community Planning Toolbox Development (Presented to GMCC on February 28, 2013).
- Presentation on Creating Fit and Well Communities: Tools Included; Some Assembly Required (2013 WA Chapter of American Planning Association Conference on October 2, 2013).
- Presentation on Smart Growth and Healthy Community Design: Best Practices and Tools (2013 APHA Annual Meeting on November 5, 2013).
- Presentation on Built Environments and Health (Presented to ACHIEVE Leadership, April 11, 2014 with Coalition for Active Transportation).
- Presentation on Infusing Health into Planning Decisions and Policies (2014 APA National Conference on April 27, 2014).
- Presentation on Building Healthy Environments for our Communities (Presented to Pierce County Economic and Infrastructure Development Committee on June 24, 2014).
- Presentation on Planning and Building Healthy Communities (Presented to Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health on September 17, 2014).
- Presentation on Applying Health-in-All-Policies to Healthy Community Planning (Presented to Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health on December 2, 2015).
- Presentation on Building Healthy Communities Together for the Health and Wellness of Pierce County (Jointly presented with Jason Sullivan of City of Bonney Lake and Katie Baker of City of Puyallup to Pierce County Regional Council on March 17, 2016).
- Presentation on Building Healthy Communities Beyond Simply Planning for Physical Activity and Healthy Foods (Jointly presented with Jason Sullivan of City of Bonney Lake and Katie Baker of City of Puyallup to Planning Association of Washington Conference on April 21, 2016).
- Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health Resolution No. 2014-4416: A Resolution Declaring Neighborhoods as Determinants of Health (Adopted on October 1, 2014).
- Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health Resolutions No. 2016-4482, 2016-4483 and 2016-4484 recommending the use of health impacts assessments in conjunction with the review of proposed actions under the State Environmental Policy Act.
- Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health Resolution No. 2016-4495 recommending decision-makers at all levels of local and state government consider health in all policies, including potential impacts on specific communities burdened by health inequities.
- Research Paper on Density and Health (March 2013).
- Fact Sheet on Built Environment and Health (March 2014).
- WA APA Policy on Healthy Community Planning (May 2015).
- WA APA Resource Guide for Healthy Community Planning (May 2015).
- Paper on Applying Health-in-All-Policies in Comprehensive Plans to Address Root Causes of Health (September 2016).
Community profiles containing demographics and health data by each local jurisdiction to inform public outreach and policy development around health priorities.
Unincorporated Urban Pierce County
Smaller Cities (Inside the Contiguous CGA):
Smaller Cities/Towns (Free Standing):
- Applications and Forms
- Business Pollution Prevention
- Community Safety
- Contaminated Sites
- Drinking Water & Wells
- Environmental Health Indicators Project
- Environmental Health Priorities
- Healthy Home Environment
- Planning for Healthy Communities
- Prevent and Respond to Flooding
- Septic Systems
- Surface Water: Lakes, Beaches and Shellfish
- Waste Management
- Wood Smoke Reduction Program